Adult Protective Services (APS) is part of a unique collaboration called the Texas Elder Abuse and Mistreatment (TEAM) Institute.

Established in 1997, the TEAM Institute became the first APS, medical school and public hospital collaboration in the U.S. The major participants are the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, McGovern Medical School, Harris County Hospital District, and APS. Members include APS caseworkers, District Directors, Program Administrators, Geriatricians, Geriatric Nursing, Forensic Nursing, Behavioral Health and Interventionists, Gerontologists, Law Enforcement and Financial Specialists.

Mission

The mission of the TEAM Institute is to improve and protect the lives of mistreated elders through clinical care and forensic assessment, education, research and justice.

Clinical Care

The TEAM Institute has provided clinical care to over 2,500 mistreated, neglected, exploited and self-neglecter elders, giving it the largest clinical experience in the U.S. The TEAM Institute uses a unique process that includes:

  1. An APS investigation.
  2. A targeted geriatric assessment.
  3. Medical and Capacity Evaluations.
  4. Joint APS and medical team care plans and reasonable next steps.
  5. Court Related Services

In 2017, the TEAM Institute expanded its service reach statewide through the Forensic Assessment Center Network (FACN) (www.facntx.org) and scope through the inclusion of forensic records reviews, employee misconduct registry determinations and telephone consultations. 

Forensics and Justice

Since 2001, TEAM Institute members have worked with the Harris County Medical Examiner’s office and other local law enforcement agencies through a multi-disciplinary and joint effort (Elder Abuse Fatality Review Team) to enhance investigations of suspicious elder deaths through the identification and reporting of systemic issues. These meetings are held monthly.

Education

TEAM Institute members educate professionals and the public at local, regional, and national venues. They have given over 300 local, state and national presentations and have published over 70 papers on elder abuse, neglect, exploitation and self-neglect. They also developed an eight-hour curriculum to train clinicians that was funded by the U.S. Department of Justice. The federal Health Resources and Services Administration funded the Houston Geriatric Center, which educated over 5000 workforce members regarding elder abuse, neglect, exploitation and self-neglect.

Research

TEAM Institute Research topics include:

  • Forensic Risk Factors and Elder Abuse deaths.
  • Health care costs of mistreated elders.
  • Causes of elder deaths.
  • Risk factors for elder mistreatment and Differential Mortality.
  • Medication Adherence Intervention
  • Identification and Classification of Financial Exploitation
  • Elder Abuse and Self-Neglect Assessment Tool Development
  • Elder Abuse Program Evaluations

The TEAM Institute has received over 4 million dollars in funding from private and federal funders. These funders include the National Institute on Aging, the U.S. Administration on Community Living, the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, the U.S. Department of Justice (Office for Victims of Crimes, Victims of Crime Act), the National Institute of Justice, the Borchard Foundation Center on Law and Aging and the Albert and Ethel Herzstein Foundation Program for Junior Faculty.  

National Recognition

TEAM has consulted with the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Research Council, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Centers for Disease Control. It also testified before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee (2002). TEAM was named one of the two best practices in the United States by the Senate Special Committee on Aging (2004). Its members serve on national steering and consultation committees for the National Adult Protective Services Association, the National Center for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, and scientific review panels for the National Institute of Justice, the American Bar Association and the National Institute of Elder Financial Exploitation.

Accomplishments

  • Most clinical experience providing medical and capacity assessments for APS clients
  • The first online portal system and Telehealth program (FACN: www.facntx.org) in the U.S. for APS caseworkers to access medical specialists trained in geriatric medicine and elder abuse
  • Development of the first Texas Senior Justice Assessment Center (2016)
  • One of two founder programs for the National Institute on Elder Financial Exploitation (NIEFE)
  • One of the longest standing multi-disciplinary elder abuse fatality review teams (Since 2001)
  • Development of a multi-disciplinary Houston Financial-abuse specialist team (H-FAST-2007) TEAM in Harris County (since 2007).
  • Multi-site replication of the TEAM Institute in Louisiana and Ohio.

Inquiries

For any information regarding joining the TEAM Institute, requesting presentations, information on the FACN or for other general inquires please use the contact information below:

TEAM Institue Contacts

Co-Director- Jason Burnett, PhD: Jason.Burnett@uth.tmc.edu
Co-Director – James Booker, PhD: James.Booker@dfps.state.tx.us
Nurse Coordinator – Leslie Clark, BSN, RN-BC: Leslie.E.Clark@uth.tmce.du

FACN Contacts

Co-Director – Jason Burnett, PhD: Jason.Burnett@uth.tmc.edu
Co-Director – John Halphen, MD,JD: John.M.Halphen@uth.tmc.edu
Nurse Coordinator – Leslie Clark, BSN, RN-BC: Leslie.E.Clark@uth.tmc.edu